June 2008


It really has been one of those days. I’ve spent most of my time playing about with dynamic ranges and dashboard tools on Excel and the rest of the time was spent trying to get an Access query to accept a reference to a table as criteria. Both activities were as frustrating as each other. I’ve got a sore head. It was a bad day in the middle of a bad week.

But on the way home, I learnt that while my day won’t be remembered in my advancing years with much fondness, it was nothing compared to poor old Robert Mugabe’s.

You really do have to feel sorry for the Zimbabwe President. Let’s face it, he’s got a helluva lot on his plate at the moment. Those citizens aren’t going to murder themselves, you know. And rigging supposed free elections takes a lot of planning and intimidation and the maintenance of a decent infrastructure of underlings to do your bidding.

So I can only imagine his sinking heart this morning when he got an email from the ICC telling him that his team wasn’t welcome to come to our house to play cricket next year.

“It’s going to be one of those fucking days,” I can hear him say.

And for the rest of the morning, I’ll wager that he didn’t put his normal 100% into his genocide. I’ll bet that his heart wasn’t really in it when he continued to ensure his nation be shunned by the international community. That cricket dealy would be biting away at the back of his head.

But worse was to come. Just as he’s getting over that, a wee fax comes in from HRH, no less.

“Oi, Bob,” it read. “See how I gave you a knighthood back in 1994, some 14 years after you came to power following an election campaign marked by widespread intimidation, outright violence, and your threat to continue the civil war if you lost, and after you compared yourself with Hitler? Well, see that knighthood? I’ve been giving it a wee thunk or two and enough’s enough. I’m having it back, Sonny Jim. From now on, the only Honorary Sir Bob will be Geldof. And I’m having second thoughts about that one, too.”

Jesus Suffering Fuck.

I mean, what’s a despot dictator to do? Rethink his ways, that’s what. And quick. For who knows what tomorrow might bring? Perhaps a chinese burn from Wolf off of Gladiators? Or a particularly scathing comedy roasting from Jimmy Carr?

My mum was at a dinner where Ann Widdecombe was giving a speech — my mum’s at that age — and someone asked why we don’t follow the Iraq model and bomb the hell out of Mugabe and then hang him and record it on a mobile phone and post it on YouTube? You can see how that might make sense. But no, says Ann after she thought about why we went to war and why we said we went to war and why the two might not bare any resemblance to each other. That’s not the same thing, she said. You see, we thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. So sure were we, that we invented an acronym and everything. The fact that he didn’t have any and it quickly turned into regime change is by the by.

So it’s just as well we don’t think Mugabe’s got weapons that he’ll turn out not to have in the first place. Because if we did, even if it was just for one moment, we’d be in like Flynn to sort out the whole beggar’s banquet and we’d see how he liked them bananas. As it stands, we’ll have to make do with sending some spiteful letters and maybe spreading rumours about his mum.

I’ll do my best to keep this perspective in mind when confronted with more of my MS Office problems tomorrow. It could be worse, Gav. I could be Robert Mugabe KCB.

You may have seen these comments on the internet. Someone posts a blog item or a video on YouTube and someone decides to let every subsequent commentator know that by their very nature, their comment is going to be substandard, by just typing five little letters.

This video goes into the head and the cagoule of such a person. Warning, there is bad language and rainwear on view from the start.

Her floof’s got teeth.

Is this a new low for cinema, or is that still From Justin To Kelly?

Good, eh?

I’m partial to a nice bit of 80s Heavy Metal and the more progressive the better.  One of the primary exponents of such music are the inexplicably umlauted Queensrÿche.

They were due to tour last year with a reformed — but let’s hope not a completely reformed — Thin Lizzy.  The show was cancelled, perhaps due to Phil Lynott still being dead, and they rescheduled a solo show for last night.  My mate, Stoobs, had discovered on the Rÿche’s website that the show was going to be a “Full American Production” of their concept works, Operation: Mindcrime and, imaginatively enough, Operation: Mindcrime II.

Mindcrime 1 was one of the albums of my youth.  I love that album.  It tells a somewhat contrived tale of a junkie who becomes embroiled in a mindcontrolling cult and bumps people off for them for reasons never fully explained.  At somepoint, he’s told to kill a priest and a nun.  The nun used to be a hooker.  Or something.  He loses his mind, mourning for this nun/whore type thing and the album closes with out hero in the loony bin.  I’m making it sound rubbish, but it really is a cracking album.

Mindcrime 2, released nearly 20 years later, picks up the story with the hero from MC1 getting released from jail and in the most glowing terms I can offer, the album is shit.

Anyway, according to the website, they were going to play, in their entirety, in order, from start to finish, both Mindcrime albums.

So Stoobs — who incidentally doesn’t particularly like either album — and I toddled off to the Carling Academy in Glasgow to see what this Full American Production really meant.  Seemingly, it meant Rock Opera.  It was quite horrible to watch.  To listen to, they were immense.  But why lead tonsil jockey Geoff Tate tried to act the story when his acting capabilities seemed limited to shocked and perplexed and I’m trapped in a box I’ll never know.  Stoobs reckoned that maybe Tate was having a midlife crisis.  I suggested that could only be true is Tate was planning on living until he was 98.

Last time I saw Queensrÿche was in 1991, during the Empire tour, and they played Mindcrime 1 from start to finish during that, and I don’t remember it being so ropey.  Or cheesy.  Or shitty.

Plus, last night, during the silly video montages that were playing above the stage, they changed the bloody story!  All of the sudden, the nun killed herself!  It wasn’t the junkie dude after all!

Shaking our heads, Stoobs and I left shortly into the second set — along with half of the crowd, it seemed — and made our ways back to a nearby pub where we managed to see the last five minutes of the same football game we saw prior to the gig.

Stoobs and I are still to see a complete concert together.

Can’t beat live music, though.

I say that, but I love Big Brother and despite my best efforts, I always get sucked into it.

This year’s selection of 16 freaks, geeks, social misfits and … well … vacuous slags of both genders, is a match for any of the previous line-ups.

From the couple of minutes or so we got to get to know them, I’m quite liking the blind dude, the chef dude and the crazy Thai woman who came on with tissue boxes on her feet and who actually said in her audition tape that she didn’t do ping pong shows.  Give it a week, love.

First to get the boot?  Dependent on any rubbish twists the producers throw in to ensure that volatile or entertaining people are kept it, I reckon Mario or the Paul Daniels looky likey will be first for the chop.

But the best thing about this year’s line up is that it’s almost impossible to imagine that we’ll remember any of these losers come September.  Here’s hoping anyway.